Monday, February 15, 2010

Good Bayh

So Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh is set to announce his retirement and not seek re-election this fall.

Bayh's announcement has taken everyone by surprise because his poll numbers were in pretty good shape and he has said as much. Apparently, Bayh has become alienated with the excessive partisanship on Capitol Hill. He specifically cited the Senate's decision to put the kabosh on the bipartisan commission on the national debt as well as the jobs bill. Here is a part of Bayh's statement:

But running for the sake of winning an election, just to remain in public office, is not good enough. And it has never been what motivates me. At this time I simply believe I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.

That doesn't speak highly of the Senate - an institution he's been a part of for more than a decade. It certainly doesn't encourage people to pursue that kind of public service. Let's also remember that Bayh came this close to becoming Barack Obama's running mate. But he has been less than enthusiastic about his presidency and his agenda in office. When Scott Brown shocked the world last month, Bayh was not a happy camper. It was Bayh who said following Brown's victory, "If you lose Massachusetts, if it's not a wake-up call, there's no hope of waking up." Bayh was also critical of the state of left-wing politics in America:

The only way we're able to govern successfully in this country is by liberals or progressives making common cause with independents and moderates. Whenever you have just the furthest left elements in the Democratic Party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country, that's not going to work too well.

In hindsight, one could make the case his statement foreshadowed today's announcement. On the other hand, I am sure that for some the thought of Bayh stepping down was as inconceivable as Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning suddenly announcing his retirement.

Could we soon be saying "Good Bayh" to the Democratic majority in the Senate?

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